By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Aug 8: The “hue and cry” of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) Youth over the proposed building of a RM70 million Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) Complex was simply out of place and far too misconceived.
Hitting back, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Information chief Datuk Idris Buang emphasised that the Unifor Complex befits the sanctity and function of Unifor.
“Taking into account the need to give due respect and dignity to all concerned from all the various religions who would visit the Complex.
“Well, if there is any iconic landmark to signify religious freedom in Sarawak, I believe, the proposed Unifor Complex would augur well for that purpose,” he said in a statement issued yesterday (Aug 7).
He was commenting a statement by PSB Youth questioning the state government’s rationale for allocating RM70 million for the construction of the Unifor Complex.
“I think they (PSB Youth) have no better issues to play with,” he criticised back.
Idris, who is also Muara Tuang assemblyman, pointed out that the Unifor Complex would be a one-stop centre for the objectives it was meant for including as an avenue that would generate income for Unifor Charitable Trust.
The Complex, he added, would contribute to income-generating activities for the trust and provide welfare assistance to the non-Muslims in the state as there would be halls and shoplots to rent and so on.
“The idea to build the Unifor Complex is for the Charitable Trust to be self-sustaining financially in the future and provide welfare assistance for the non-Muslims for the long term,” he added.
Idris also noted that the Unifor Office under the Chief Minister’s Department looks after the physical needs of other religions while the Trust (a separate non-government organisation body) looks after the welfare and activities of the other religions.
Meanwhile, PSB Youth had in a statement published in a local daily, said that the Unifor Complex is a waste of money unless it serves other purposes than solely dealing with non-Islamic affairs and charitable trust.
While it admired Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s liberal approach for other religions, they however felt that the money for the new complex could be better spent such as to help various churches, Chinese temples and Hindu temples with their renovation and upgrading works.—DayakDaily